When reading an art book, I’m surely not a fast reader, but just finished reading another one.
The book was “The Moment it Clicks“, written by the fantastic National Geographic photographer Joe McNally. The book has a very interesting format, one photo, one story. McNally tells the story of his career, through his images and the stories related to them.
From shooting celebrities (James Brown, Sophia Loren, Michelle Pfeiffer, … you name it) to the top of the Empire State Building (literally, where the red lamp is), McNally describes the rights, wrongs and unexpected situations he encountered and how, at the end, he managed to leave with an amazing image.
The book is full of advice and knowledge, technical and life lessons. McNally shows the difference between an image that simply shows something, and an great image that satisfies the client and amazes the viewer. Manipulating light and transforming the scenes into something that, though not its usual appearance, conveys the message in its best way.
One of the stories (life lesson style) that doesn’t leave my mind anymore is the one when the beginner McNally does a very good job and his editor calls it an “attaboy”, but reminds him that “It only takes one ‘aw, shit’ to wipe out three ‘attaboys'”. Works for everything, for every job. Your wrongs count more that your rights.
McNally also gives a chapter on lighting tips and a great list of gear.
A book really worth reading!